UONH David Collings & the Monster and The Maternal Things Discussion

For this on-your-own activity, you will respond to one of the critical essays below, provided in the Frankenstein text we’ve been reading.

First, select ONE of these essays:

  • David Collings, “The Monster and the Maternal Things: Mary Shelley’s Critique of Ideology” (pps. 323-339)
  • Johanna M. Smith, “‘Cooped Up’ and ‘Sad Trash:’ Domesticity and the Sciences in Frankenstein” (pps. 360-380)
  • Grant F. Scott, “Victor’s Secret: Queer Gothic ing Lynd Ward’s Illustrations to Frankenstein (1934)” (pps. 400-445)
  • Warren Montag, “The ‘Workshop of Filthy Creation:’ A Marxist Reading of Frankenstein” (pps. 469-480)
  • Siobhan Carroll, “Crusades Against Frost: Frankenstein, Polar Ice, and Climate Chagne in 1818″ (pps. 502-529)
  • Allan L. Smith, “‘This Thing of Darkness:’ Racial Discourse in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” (pps. 547-568)

Then, read/skim as much of the essay as you’re able in 35-45 minutes to ensure you leave yourself enough time to complete the rest of the activity outlined below. As you read, you can also take general notes and list them here, including interesting quotes or passages, ideas that you find particularly insightful, anything that you find confusing or interpretations that you disagree with, and connections to potential thesis or focus for your own analysis of Frankenstein. You may find that doing so enables you to answer some of the questions below as you’re reading. 

Leave yourself 15-20 minutes to respond to at least four of the following questions:

  • Why did you choose this critical essay? How does it change or add to your reading and interpretation of the plot and characters in Frankenstein?
  • What responses do you have to the lens that the essay represents (e.g., psychoanalytic, feminist, or marxist criticism, etc.)? How is this a useful lens for analysis of Frankenstein? What does it draw our attention to in or about the story that we might otherwise miss in our own readings and interpretations?
  • How does Mary Shelley’s biography influence, relate to, support, or complicate this author’s analysis of the text?
  • Based on your interpretation and response to this essay, respond to the following questions: 
    • (EVERYONE answer) Who is the most interesting, provocative, or intriguing character in the story and why?
    • (EVERYONE answer) At this point, what is ONE aspect of the story that you would like to explore further (through research and writing) and why?

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